Megalithomania

New York University’s John A. Paulson Center announces the triumph of a new civilization: thrusting, dismissive, cruel.

MARCH WAS THE MONTH when the cracks in New York City showed all at once.

There was the much-commented-on publication of the Citizens Budget Commission’s 2023 survey, broadly interpreted by news organizations to mean that only half of all New Yorkers planned to remain in the city in the coming years. The commission’s report recorded widespread dissatisfaction with most quotidian quality-of-life barometers: schools, safety, public services, not to mention the increasingly unaffordable simple bare necessities of our urban jungle. The survey’s release was shortly followed by reports of more murders on the subways, generating more safety hysteria, typically from public officials who have tied their electoral fate to perceptions about crime.

It’s true there have been days recently when the city seethes with aggression bordering on mass psychosis. (And this despite or because of the bud- and blossom-filled incipient spring, the phase a friend refers to as “the week of white flowers,” already a distant memory.) On the subways, even nonphenotypically crazy people were mutte…

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